Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: "Comeau, Lisa" <Lisa -dot- Comeau -at- MOH -dot- GOV -dot- ON -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 11:04:06 -0500

"...when I work for a specific company that has a style guide I use it.
However, I do not work
for Microsoft and do not see why I should use theirs over the one I had from
a previous job."

>This I agree with, in theory, but, for example, here I document MS products
for low-end users, and we have not only your own style guides, but we use MS
products, so we incorporate some of their guidelines as well, so the docs
are more familiar to those people using MS at home. It's a reference manual
fer gosh sakes! I use all the help I can get! Sure beats coming up with my
own guidelines for _every job_.

"People who are asking writing questions are NOT writing about Microsoft
Word or Powerpoint, so why are people suggesting the Microsoft Manual of
Style, if, as you say Microsoft only wants to control manuals about their
products?"

>So, I guess you've asked every single person who's asked a writing question
what they were specifically writing about before recommending something that
works for you? What if they're documenting a program that will eventually be
_going into_ a Microsoft environment? Would it not then make sense to try
and create the docs within MS parameters so it doesn't need to be rewritten
2 days before shipping because it "doesn't comply"?

"English language and grammar changes very little and very slowly"

> [incredulously, with an expression of utter disbelief]So the word "dialog
box" was part of the language 20 years ago? I remember when "bad" meant
"bad", and also when it meant "good", "crack" was something in a sidewalk,
and "application" was referring to a job. So I guess I just come from a
different planet...

"The day the Chicago Manual of Style and Strunk and White (which has been
around since 1919 or so) become obsolete is the day that writers become
obsolete."

>Pardon me for saying so, but if you're following CMS, and S&W to the
letter, you're limiting yourself immensely. I'm not saying they're obsolete,
just not necessarily appropriate for _all_ types of documentation.

>I am not trying to start a Holy War here, I'm just saying that sometimes we
need to be a little more open to the "changing times" and stop blaming
_companies_ for the so-called 'decline of the technical writer'.

> [please note the sarcasm]Oh woe is us when a new type of style guide
appears! However shall we cope with yet _another_ helpful document meant to
make our reader happy! What shall I do? Isn't it my job to be as obstinate
about anything to do with Microsoft as possible? Heaven forbid I should
suggest a useful tool to another writer- someone might get their panties in
a bunch...

Bring it on, baby.

Lisa Comeau
"Everyone repeat after me... we are all individuals..."

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=




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